Tycko & Zavareei LLP Awarded Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs Outstanding Achievement Award

In June 2004, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs awarded Tycko & Zavareei LLP their Outstanding Achievement Award for their work on landmark fair housing litigation. Bruce V. Spiva and Hassan A. Zavareei, together with lawyers from the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, successfully tried a case against the District of Columbia for discriminatory housing code enforcement against Latino and other residents of the Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant neighborhoods. The jury returned a verdict of nearly $200,000 for the tenants of one of the impacted buildings. This case is currently on appeal to the United States Circuit Court for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs recently recognized Tycko & Zavareei LLP for its exceptional pro bono advocacy on behalf of Latino immigrants living in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The Committee honored the firm with an Outstanding Achievement Award in Fair Housing at its 2004 Wiley A. Branton Awards Luncheon, which was attended by thousands of the city’s attorneys and business leaders who support the Committee’s efforts.

In a lawsuit brought in federal district court, the firm successfully challenged a District of Columbia housing code enforcement initiative that threatened to displace a large number of Latino immigrants living in Columbia Heights, an area of the city that has undergone rapid gentrification in recent years. Attorneys from Tycko & Zavareei LLP, together with co-counsel from the Fair Housing and Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee and the law firm of Jenner & Block LLP, with whom the award was shared, succeeded in establishing that the District’s enforcement initiative had a disproportionately discriminatory impact on D.C.’s Latino population and violated the Fair Housing Act. A twelve-member jury awarded seven affected tenant households approximately $200,000 in damages. In addition, as a result of this successful lawsuit, the District of Columbia ceased its discriminatory enforcement of the housing code.

The Wiley A. Branton Awards luncheon has been held annually since 1989 by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, an organization that provides pro bono services on a broad range of civil rights and poverty issues in the community. In addition to the Fair Housing award, the Committee handed out eight other Outstanding Achievement Awards in areas such as Equal Employment and Disability Rights.